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Blackduck City Council discusses community and street issues

Members of the Blackduck City Council met for the regular meeting Nov. 23 with a few others present to speak to the council.

Kurt Benson asked to speak to the council during the public forum about the blighted property he had asked about at an earlier meeting. He asked what the council had been doing concerning the blighted properties in the city.

City Administrator Karin Elhard reported to Benson that the property in question was being dealt with. "Offers are being discussed with the property owner," she said. "The building will be down in June of 2010," she said.

Elhard explained that the structure itself was what was called a CCC structure.

"Exactly what does that mean?" asked Benson.

"Absolutely nothing," replied Elhard.

She also told Benson that the broken windows had been boarded up.

"Is there a plan for that?" Benson asked.

"Yes," Elhard said. "The building will be gone by June 1."

Liquor Store Manager Shawn Waldo reported to the council that sales were up and that the liquor store had done well during hunting season.

"We will be doing inventory again Jan. 1," Waldo said. "Shawnda, Karin and I will be doing it. It worked out really well during the last inventory," she said.

Councilmembers all agreed that the group should do the liquor store's inventory again as long as Elhard would be present. She assured the council that she would be there.

Waldo told the council that the liquor store would be closing at 8 p.m. Christmas Eve, be closed Christmas Day. She also said that the liquor store would open at 2 p.m. New Year's Day.

The council then gave praise to Waldo as the liquor store's income statement looked really good.

She mentioned in closing that she and the marketing committee members would be meeting to discuss getting t-shirts for the staff at The Pond.

Paul Bunyan Telephone C.E.O. Paul Freude was next to come before the council. With him was Paul Bunyan Video Services Coordinator Keith Hunt.

After much discussion concerning what was going to happen to the Blackduck office when the takeover was complete early next year and the raising of the cable rates, the council thanked the two for coming and moved on to the next order of business -- the municipal infrastructure improvement.

Darren Laesch of the city's engineering firm, Widseth Smith and Nolting, was on hand to identify, for the council, problem areas within the city's infrastructure as well as a project cost summary.

The council received map handouts showing various street needs such as which streets were in need of milling, overlay or gravel roads which need to be upgraded to bituminous.

"If you were able to address all of the needs of the city's streets," Laesch explained," then this would be about a $4 million project. What we need to do is determine what can wait and what needs to be assessed as most critical," he said.

The first step, Laesch explained, would be to submit a grant to Rural Development to see what kind of dollars would be available for this type of work.

"Grant money will probably be awarded in the fall of 2010," he said.

After a short discussion, the council decided to see what would be available to them through Rural Development before determining what should be done.

The council then heard from Elhard on a request from Anderson Fabrics, Inc. on refinancing their revolving loan with the city.

The request would be to amortize the loan for 10 years, reduce the interest rate from 6.5 percent to 5 percent and to continue interest only payments for an additional 24 months.

The SCDP Revolving Loan Committee recommended to the council that this request be approved to which the council agreed.

Elhard updated the council on the budget overview as well as the reallocation of #301 funds. She also explained the budget and bond payment schedule for next year.

The last item on the agenda was an explanation of the Conditions for Donation of services and Space Agreement for the 2010 Census, to which the council approved before adjourning for the evening.